“Do you feel you have peaked?”

“Do you feel you have peaked?”

The worst part about a web design project is “finalization.”  We’ve spent years trying to refine our process to get the customer to look at and approve concepts before we begin development.  100% of the time there are changes at the end, that we simply have to make.  It’s forced us to think long an hard about dropping a major business unit.

We’ve surely gotten a lot better, by pointing to live examples of work we’ve built, it’s helped us a lot in terms of getting fewer change requests at later stages.  We are also going to start sending out a “Next Steps / Responsibilities” checklist at the end of each phase.  (E.g. end of wireframes we’ll specify no more changes to layout and discuss our next steps in terms of content migration).  Time will tell if that strategy works.

In the meantime though, the winds have been blowing further and further away from custom websites and towards promoting and pushing our product lines.  With our current staff, we have the following on websites:
70% Zack
100% Sarah
40% Me
10% Tim

Zack can easily sub in for anything, so my bigger concern was Sarah.  If we kill off websites, what role will Sarah play?  How can I make her feel like she is not unwanted.

To begin the conversation, I asked her if she felt she is learning anything new as she builds websites, in other wards “do you feel you have peaked?”  This was a great opening to a 45 minute conversation on the future of the company.  It seems like she buys into the idea of diminishing websites in favor of products.

First problem solved: Buy-in.

Second problem, what should she do?  This will be a question I wrestle with throughout.  Because of her performance really the entire first 15 months on the job, it will be hard to trust her in a position of flexibility.  I feel her position needs to have some ability to directly be measured and also needs to solve an immediate need.   I’m sure we’ll figure something out, but it seems like sales or support will be the way to go for the next year.


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